I had an epiphany in 2014.
Have you ever had one of those? A moment of absolutely true clarity?
I’m not the kind of person who has lots of random epiphanies, so when it happens, I try to pay attention.
The year started with me barely meeting the hardest deadline I’d ever encountered and failing to recover from a summer of travel that included a cross-country bus trip and 10 days in NYC. I was so tired and sore and miserable, I could barely function. I’m not kidding. I couldn’t even put my own pants on without crying.
My first novel had just been published by one of the biggest publishers there is, and I was honestly afraid that I’d made myself too sick to enjoy reaching this goal that I’d spent my whole life working toward.
I had to do something to stop the headlong collision path I was on with immobility and illness and other yucky stuff that I don’t even want to think about.
Three things happened that really opened my eyes.
First, I came across a website where I could put in some information about myself into a calculator that told me how many calories I should be eating. The number it gave me was at least 1000 more than I thought I needed.
Then I logged into My Fitness Pal–and it gave me the exact same number of calories to eat.
Finally, a few weeks into what became a 100 Day Experiment, I went to a nutritionist. She pulled out this wheel thing, spun it around to my age and height and weight and gender, and told me the exact same amount the websites had told me.
It became crystal clear to me that I had spend years, maybe my whole life, constantly cycling between eating not enough and eating way too much.
Here’s where that epiphany comes in. Are you ready?
What if I just ate enough every day?
Let me say that again. With gusto!
What if I just ate ENOUGH every day?
Not too much. Not too little. Just. Enough.
What if, after years of struggling to recover from an eating disorder and more years of research and writing about Health at Every Size and body acceptance–I stripped away everything else and just started to eat enough. Every day.
Not what I thought was enough or what my culture says is enough for any woman–but what my particular body needed to feel good every day.
Mind blowing, right?
And then, in the process of researching all of that, I found this video that really struck a chord with me.
I honestly didn’t know if I had 30 minutes of real exercise a day in me. In fact, the idea of it made me feel a little sick. Remember, even putting on my pants hurt. In December 2013 my whole body would shut down somewhere between 3 and 4 p.m. every afternoon. When I say shut down, I mean it was just like a machine powering down. Have you ever been in the middle of something and had your computer all of a sudden start to close up shop on you? Just like that. I had to lay down or I would have fallen down. Where was I going to pull 30 minutes of exercise a day from?
And then I had another epiphany.
What if I just moved a little more every day?
I thought I could probably add 10 minutes of activity to my days, despite the fact that I felt like something the cat had dragged in front of a speeding train.
I had to do something, so I decided to try an experiment. For 100 days I’d eat at least the number of calories that website told me I should and exercise at least 10 minutes a day.
I didn’t know what to expect. Maybe nothing. I was at a point where I felt like I had nothing to lose.
And then, after just a couple of weeks, one of the worst health issues I was having started to resolve itself.
I started to sleep.
I think the worst thing was that as exhausted as I was, I couldn’t sleep. And the sleep I did get sucked. One of the first things I noticed during my 100 Day Experiment was that I started to sleep.
Not fitful sleep. Not wake-up-five-times-a-night sleep. Real, deep, restful sleep.
I documented those 100 days on my Tumblr blog. After about three weeks, I was sleeping eight hours a night, the swelling in my face and legs went away, the pain in my back was greatly reduced. I worked my way up to exercising 30 minutes a day. And then sixty. I felt amazing. It’s hard to even put into words how good I felt. Good enough that I went ahead and kept going for another 100 days.
Three Little Words.
Just like everything else I do here, Operation Feel Good is simple and it’s intuitive. Just three words, really.
Eat. Move. Sleep.
Eat enough. Every day. Enough might be way more than you think it is, if you’re a woman and you’ve spent your life hearing about 1200 calorie diets.
Move at least ten minutes a day and build up to at least 30.
Sleep. I am fiercely protective of my eight hours. They make a major difference in the Feel Good.
Operation Feel Good is about feeling good physically, but also emotionally and mentally. It’s about self-care on the most basic level.
What it’s not about.
It’s not about weight loss. In fact, I’ll never talk about weight loss here. Not as a goal. Not as the end game to anything. That’s just not what this is about.
I have a long history of disordered eating, reaching back to when I was Ruby’s age. That’s nine years old. Operation Feel Good is about recovery, on many levels.
Operation Feel Good is about doing the things that make you feel good, without focusing on weight.
It’s not about weight loss. It’s also not about NOT losing weight.
It’s not about weight at all.
I’m on a mission to feel good, inside and out.
I’d love your company.
I’ll be posting about Operation Feel Good every Wednesday. If you’d like an email notice of next week’s post, CLICK HERE.
* * *
This post was linked to these awesome blogs: